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gistrates, senate, and people of Ephesus and Cyrene, enjoining that the Jews should be allowed the unmolested right of assembling together, and of transmitting their sacred money to Jerusalem ; and the pro-consul Julius Antonius issued similar directions *.
Herod, who had been first created Tetrarch by Anthony, was afterwards solemnly inaugurated at Rome t, with distinguished honours, conferred upon him by Anthony and Octavius. The Jews were allowed a district at Rome on the side of the Tiber, and were indulged in the exercist of their worship, when other systems of religion were discountenanced; for it is not correctly true, as the historian of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire has represented, that all were deemed equally useful by the magistrate. The Romans had much intercourse with the Jews in Egypt, whither they frequently repaired for corn and commercial purposes. · Philo, who, in the reign of Caligula, was sent from Alexandria, on an embassy 10 Rome, contributed to attract attention to
* Antiq. lib. xvi. c. 6. + Ibid. lib. xiv. c. 14..
1 lbid. lib, xviii. c. 19.
the Jews, being himself a man of considera able learning and authority, and, though not treated with respect by the emperor, he probably was esteemed by his subjects. ' .
The indulgence shown by the Romans to the Jews, in granting and confirming privileges to them, is supposed, by Whiston, to hare greatly contributed to procure for them from God, the blessing of Christianity. It is remarkable to observe how Providence rendered the extension of the Roman Empire, and its connection with Judea, suba servient to the progress and diffusion of the Gospel.
Tiberius and Vitellius are said to have sent orders for public sacrifices at Jerusalem. Claudius confirmed the privileges of the Jews; it was observed by Seneca, that, after the subjection of Judea, the conquered nations gave laws to their conquerors; and, in this remark, he bears testimony to the completion of the promise which God had ultered to the Israelites, by Moses, “ that “ they should reign orer many nations; but " other people should not reign over Is. " rael *” Rutilius, on that account, ex
* Deut. xv. 6. August. de Civit. Dei, lib. vi. c. 11.
presses the wish, that Judea had never been subdued by the arms of Pompey * It should be observed that the Romans, by the destruction of Jerusalem, made way for the establishment of Christianity, which was not to be implicated with a political institution, but was designed to preserve a spiritual church, capable of administering to the moral and spiritual interests of men under erery government.
It appears, from accounts in the Evangelical Writings, that the Romans at first treated the Christians with mildness, and did not always conspire with their persecutors +: they seem to have regarded them as a sect of the Jews. The Roman government was, in general, accustomed to protect its subjects in the possession of their religious rites, excepting when those rites had a mischievous tendency I. It was the rapid advancernent of Christianity, when it began to excite jealousy and apprehension, when it shook the pillars of the Heathen temple, and the whole structure of superstition seemed likely to fall, which instigated the emperors to become per
+ Rutil. Itiner.
secutors of the Christians. They complained that the Roman altars were deserted, and they threw the odium of crimes upon the Christians, which were sufficiently refuted by the principles which they professęd, and ihe virtues which they displayed. S i
We have observed, in the remarks on the connection between the Grecian and the Jewish accounts, that the Greeks borrowed some of their laws from those of sacred authority; and from the same source the Romans, by the intervention of the Greeks, might have obtained some knowledge of them.
The Romans, it appears, sent ambassadors to Athens to receive advice in the formation of their judicial code, and by these means they might have obtained Hebrew precepts originally derived through Solon, the Athenian lawgiver.
CHAP. X. Of the general Belief in the Existence of a
Supreme Being, the Creator of the Universe, prevailing among all Nations.
The simple and sublime principle of natural religion, the existence of a Supreme Being, seems to have been among the first and most universal convictions of the human mind.
The assurance originally derived from that disclosure of himself, which God vouchsafed to make to our first parents, and which was confirmed by the exercise of reason, whereever it was allowed to operate, might have been expected to retain its evidence in every age. The corruption, however, of human nature, and its disposition to yield to impressions from sensible objects and to the illusions of fancy, constantly subjected the mind to the influence of error, and led it to mingle false apprehensions with the persuasions of revealed truth. Hence, though ibe outline of this great doctrine was to be